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This week’s blog is about John Atkinson Cunningham, the New London Academy in Bedford County Virginia and a Virginia Travel book, dated 1871, that mentions New London and Lynchburg Va. The book was written by Virginia Edward Pollard.

While searching for the New London Academy, using the Library of Virginia’s website, I came across a short biography on John Atkinson Cunningham, figure 1, who for a time, went to New London Academy.

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Figure 1. John Atkinson Cunningham

According to the library website, “John Atkinson Cunningham (24 June 1846–9 October 1897, was born in Richmond Virginia. The information indicates he came from wealth, for he was educated at home by a French governess, and at some point, went to the New London Academy in Bedford County. Cunningham stopped his education during the Civil War, to enlist on 5 June 1864. He served in Captain Willis Jefferson Dance’s Company -Powhatan Artillery until the end of the War. After the war he went to the University of Virginia, (1865 -1868), to study ancient languages and mathematics. From there Cunningham taught at a military academy in New Castle, Kentucky. The academy was founded by the former Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith. At some point he became president of the State Female Normal School, now known as Longwood University. On 9 October 1897, John Atkinson Cunningham died of meningitis at his Farmville home. Today, a student dormitory at Longwood University bears his name.”[1]

Searching for New London Academy, via, I came across a newspaper ad in the Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia), (figure 2) dated, Friday, 14 Oct 1842, Page 1. The ad was placed by the President of New London Academy, Alexander Campbell, who had resigned his post in October of that year and was advertising for his replacement.

The ad gives a description of the Academy,

Figure 2 Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia). October 14, 1842.

“The New London Academy, having been in operation for the last fifty years, is well known throughout the State. The situation bring within twenty miles of the Blue Mountain, is unsurpassed for health and beauty of location. The public stage passes the Academy every day of the week, except Sunday, thereby rendering communication with it very convenient for parents at a distance.”[2]

The ad also gives a description of the type of applicant they are looking for,

“It is required that the Professor of this Institution be of good moral character – a good Latin and Greek Scholar, and thoroughly instructed in Mathematics, Natural and Moral Philosophy.”[3]

And the ad describes the working and living atmosphere for the new President.

“A new and elegant building has recently been erected – a comfortable habitation for the use of the Professor—with all necessary offices, and a good garden, well enclosed, with a lot of ground contiguous to the establishment—all of which is free of charge to the Professor.”[4]

Additionally, I found another ad on The New London Academy, this time the ad concerns the start of a new school year and tuition rates for the New London Academy,


WILL begin on the 17th of August and close 15th of February following. Terms per session of five months: For Tuition, $16.00 for Tuition and Board, (except lights,) $87 50. For circulars containing further information, address C. J. HARMS, Principal.”[5]


During my research I came across this 1870, Virginia Travel book, figure 3, titled The Virginia Tourist, by Edward A. Pollard.

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Figure 3. The Virginia Tourist, by Edward A. Pollard.

Chapter 2 is about Lynchburg and the surrounding area. The book’s author also explains the history of the term Lynch Law, figure 4.

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Figure 4. Lynch Law, The Virginia Tourist, 42.

Furthermore, book provides useful travel information on trains and stages, figure 5.

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Figure 5. Types of travels, The Virginia Tourist, 35.

You can see towards the bottom of figure 5, near the check mark, the types of travels from Lynchburg. It also indicates stops in New London and Alum Springs.

I can envision parents reading the book as they debate whether to send their child to the New London Academy. The book could help them determine if the area, and its transportation, is suitable for their child’s needs.

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Figure 6. National Park Service. Edward Alfred Pollard.

Additional bit of trivia, Edward A. Pollard, figure 6, “was a pro-slavery lawyer, writer, journalist and U.S. Congressional Judiciary Committee Clerk who became a principle editor of the Richmond Examiner at the beginning of the Civil War.”[6]

In 1866 Pollard coined the phrase Lost Cause; which is derived from is 1866 book, The Lost Cause.

Links: The books are free from Google Books.

Virginia Travel book.

The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates,

That’s it for this week and I hope you found this blog informative.
Thanks for stopping by,

Cover Image from:


National Park Servce. Edward Alfred Pollard. June 17, 2015. (accessed 10 01, 2019).

Pollard, Edward A. The Virgina Tourist Sketches and Mountains of Virginia . Philadelphia : J.P. Lippencott and Co. , 1871.

Read, Daisy I. New London_Today and Yesterday . Lynchburg: J. P. Bell Company, 1950 .

Richmond Enquirer . Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia) 21 Aug 1857, Fri Page 3. 08 21, 1857. (accessed 10 01, 2019).

Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia). 10 14, 1842. (accessed 10 01, 2019).

Tarter, Brent. John Atkinson Cunningham (1846–1897) Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia (1998– ). 2006. (accessed 10 01, 2019).

  1. Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia). 10 14, 1842.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Richmond Enquirer. Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia) 21 Aug 1857, Fri Page 3.
  5. National Park Servce. Edward Alfred Pollard. June 17, 2015.